The 5 Best Exercises to Increase Wrist Size and Strength

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To increase wrist size and strength, you need to train your wrist muscles in multiple ways.
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If you want bigger wrists, you need to incorporate wrist exercises into your regular workout routine.

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But training your wrist muscles does more than increase wrist size and create visual bulk. It enables your hands to hold more weight –– upping your deadlift PRs, how long you can hold on doing pull-ups and, ultimately, helping you build more total-body strength and muscle.

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After all, hand and wrist strength are often "limiting factors" in weight-lifting. Translation: Hands usually give out long before the rest of the body, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Fortunately, it doesn't take long to build wrist strength. In an April 2018 study in the ​Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research​, people significantly improved their motor control and strength by doing wrist exercises for just six weeks.

Use these wrist-strengthening exercises to shore up your weakest links, build wrist size and get more out of every lifting workout.

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Move 1: Wrist Curl

This wrist exercise trains the flexors, the muscles in the inside of your forearm that move your palm toward your arm. That's why many people also call the exercise a wrist flexion.

Steps:

  1. Hold two light dumbbells and with your forearms on your thighs and your palms facing up. Let your hands hang a past your knees. Relax your hands so the weights rest in your fingers.
  2. Squeeze your hands, then bend your wrists to raise your palms as close to your forearms as possible.
  3. Pause, then slowly reverse the motion to lower the weight back to your fingers.

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Move 2: Reverse Wrist Curl

Also called a wrist extension, this exercise builds your wrist extensors. These are the muscles in the back of your forearm that draw the back of your hand toward for forearm.

Steps:

  1. Hold two light dumbbells and with your forearms on your thighs and your palms facing up. Let your hands hang a past your knees. Relax your hands so the weights rest in your fingers.
  2. Squeeze your hands, then flex your wrists to raise your palms as close to your forearms as possible.
  3. Pause, then slowly reverse the motion to lower the weight back to your fingers.

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Move 3: Wrist Roller

This simple exercise trains strength and stability in multiple muscles to increase wrist size. It also trains the forearms.

Steps:

  1. Hold a wrist roller (a dowel with an attached chain or rope in the middle that can support small weight plates) with an overhand grip in front of you at waist height.
  2. Roll it forward with your hands so that the chain or rope wraps around the dowel and raises up.
  3. When the weight reaches the dowel, reverse the motion to unroll it and lower the weight.

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Move 4: Behind-the-Back Wrist Curl

This builder is a great way to mix up your wrist curls and keep progressing.

Steps:

  1. Stand with an unloaded or short barbell behind your back. With your palms facing away from your body, let the bar hang from your fingers.
  2. Squeeze your hands, then bend your wrists to raise your palms as close to your forearms as possible.
  3. Pause, then slowly reverse the motion to lower the weight back to your fingers.

Move 5: Towel Pull-Up

The pull-up is an excellent forearm and wrist-strengthening exercise, and this variation increases how hard your hands have to work to hold on. The result: You increase your wrist size even more.

Steps:

  1. Hang two towels evenly over a pull-up bar, roughly shoulder-width apart. Grab each towel with your palms facing each other and your thumbs pointing up.
  2. Brace your core and raise your feet so that you're hanging from the towels.
  3. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and back, then pull through your arms to raise your body until your collarbones are roughly in line with the bar.
  4. Pause, then slowly reverse the motion to return to the starting position.

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